Vancouver Whitecaps: What’s in a Name?

Often times when I am out taking the air upon the streets of Vancouver a stranger will stop me and say,

“I am fully aware that the Soccer Shorts Player Ratings system is undeniably the most accurate and objective player ratings system in the world. But I wonder if you would be so kind as to introduce a ratings system that is a little more simplistic for people like me who don’t have your intellectual depth?”

I smile at them and, after I’ve asked them if I can borrow twenty dollars for my car (parked just around the corner) which has unfortunately run out of gas on the way to a really important hospital appointment, I tell them that such a system is indeed in the works.

As they hand over the money they thank me for my time and, on occasion, I feel a pang of sadness that I will never behold their sweet and innocent face again.

Oh sure, I could keep the scrap of paper they hand over with their contact details scribbled down so that I can pay them back. But is that what they really want?

Of course it isn’t!

But today they are about to be paid back in full! More than full really. If anything, they owe me another twenty dollars.

Because today is the launch of the exclusive Shouting A Player’s Name During A Game Index (SPANDAGI for ease of reference).

Oh and by the way, the “P” and the “A” have been transposed there for reasons too scientifically complicated to explain.

What SPANDAGI does is take the ruthlessly efficient mathematical model at the heart of the current Soccer Shorts Player Ratings and throw in a soupcon of personalization.

It’s ideal for the shallower among you.

So how does it work?

Frequently during a game I will shout valuable instructions to a player. “Pass it!”, “Shoot!”, “Move!” and so on. But over time I have observed that the name I attach to these pearls of wisdom is very much indicative of how the player is performing both within the game and over the season.

That’s what SPANDAGI is. It judges a player by the name I call them.

Simple but unerringly accurate.

So let’s take a look at where the current Whitecaps stand in the SPANDAGI Index.

Max Crepeau- “Max”. The goalkeeper has gone from “Throw it out quicker err, whatever your name is.” to “Throw it out quicker Max.” A substantial rise in the standings.

Jake Nerwinski- “Jake”. Maybe down to familiarity more than than content with his play, but “Just hit one decent cross please Jake!” speaks well of his position in the index.

Ali Adnan- “Ali”. “Have a run at them Ali.” shows how remarkably well the Iraqi defender has slotted into the team.

Doneil Henry- “Henry”. Perhaps because shouting “Don’t get a red card here Doneil.” sounds a tad like a bad Folk ditty, but it’s still indicative that the central defender has work to do.

Erik Godoy- Never see him and so never shout anything.

Jon Erice- “Erice“. Partly in deference to his role as captain and partly because calling a Spaniard “Jon” is wrong. “So it will always be “Sort them out here Erice.”

Russell Teibert- “Teibert”. Or occasionally simply “Teib…”. As in “Okay, don’t pass the ball backwards this time Teib….oh forget it”.

Hwang In-Beom- “In-Beom”. “Just get forward In-Beom.” rolls off the tongue really.

Lass Bangoura- “Lass”. Purely for the comedic effect of sounding like a Yorkshire sheep farmer speaking to his faithful dog. “Come on Lass, have a run.”

Lucas Venuto- “Venuto”. The winger has done nowhere near enough to earn first name status. So “Better final ball this time Venuto.” it will be.

Fredy Montero- “Fredy”. Began the season firmly in the “Montero” range but has since moved to “Fredy” with a few good performances. “Stop hitting high balls to Fredy.” is the most useful phrase here.

Felipe- “Felipe”. In an attempt to pad his SPANDAGI stats the Brazilian has chosen to go by one name only so “Please don’t let Felipe take any more set-pieces.” it has to be.

Yordy Reyna- “Yordy”. The Peruvian has followed a similar trajectory to Montero in many ways, transitioning from “Reyna” to “Yordy” as the season has gone on. It will be interesting to see how his injury lay off affects his standing. But, for now, it remains “You should have finished that Yordy.”

PC-“PC”. As with Felipe we are left with little choice. So the best hope right now is that the winger has footwear issues and “You need to reboot your PC!” can be yelled at the coaching staff.

The rest of the squad haven’t really had enough playing time to fully make their mark on the SPANDAGI index (although I do have a special name for Joaquin Ardaiz) but I think we can all agree that that this is a quantum leap forward in our understanding of what I like to call “The Beautiful Game.”

You are very welcome.

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